A Japanese woman who was molested by a group of men as they celebrated the Hindu festival of Holi in India has said she ‘still loves everything’ about the country despite the traumatising incident.
The woman in her 20s identified herself as the victim in the shocking video, taken as she celebrated the festival of colours with friends in Delhi.
The distressing footage, shared on her Twitter page before she says she took it down due to the backlash it sparked, has gone viral since the alleged attack on Wednesday.
It shows five or six men and boys forcefully smearing the woman’s face with colours and even smashing an egg on her head as they shove her between them, all while screaming ‘happy Holi’.
The tourist, who says she has now left the country, wrote on Twitter: ‘I love everything about India, I have been there many times and it is a fascinating country. It’s a wonderful country that you can’t hate even if you receive this incident.
A Japanese woman was sexually assaulted by a group of men during the celebration of the Hindu festival of Holi
She added in her Tweet, which is translated from Japanese, that ‘India and Japan will forever be ‘Tomodachi”’, a phrase meaning friends.
The incident reportedly took place on March 8 in the capital’s Paharganj area, which is popular with Western backpackers, including Brits.
Swati Maliwal, the chairperson of the Delhi Commission for Women, has since described seeing a number of videos showing incidents of sexual harassment against foreign tourists at Holi celebrations in the area this year.
She said she is issuing a notice to Delhi police to look at the videos and called for the arrest of those perpetrating the ‘completely shameful behaviour’.
Amid an outpouring of support and outrage for her treatment, the Japanese tourist has apologised for the upset it caused.
She insisted on Twitter that it had not been her intention to show the negative side of Holi but rather the ‘joy’ of the festival.
But, she explained, she had been aware of the risks around attending the festival, which has seen women targeted by vile attacks in recent years.
She said she had gone with 35 other friends, and despite the shocking nature of the footage, did have help from the cameraman and others to escape the aggressive men.
In the clip, which MailOnline has chosen not to share, the woman can be heard repeatedly telling her attackers ‘itai, itai’, which is Japanese for ‘it hurts’.
The video has sparked outrage about women’s safety during the Hindu festival, which is celebrated by people throwing coloured powder and water at each other (stock image)
She is seen being pushed around and grabbed by the jeering men, who pelt her with colours and hold her in place as they rub her head with them.
She eventually slaps one as he launches himself towards her, before she is able to slip away down an alleyway.
Three people, including a minor, have now been arrested in connection with the attack.
The tourist said she has now left the country, and is currently in Bangladesh.
After calls from many across India for justice to be brought over the upsetting footage, she said that police have now contacted her.
‘In the wake of this incident, the police have promised to strengthen their crackdown, and we hope that harassment against women will decrease significantly at the Holi festival from next year,’ she wrote.
The video has added to serious concerns about women’s safety during the Hindu festival, which is celebrated by people throwing coloured powder and water at each other.
It is just the latest case of what has become known as ‘Holi harrassment’ in India.
For years, women have complained about being harassed and groped by men under the pretext of applying colours.
In another shocking incident at Holi celebrations this year, a 65-year-old woman was reportedly beaten to death by a group of six in Balbadda, Jharkhand.
The mother, named as Bucchi Devi, had been trying to stop the perpetrators applying colours to her son Murari.
Both of them were thrashed by the group until they lost consciousness, and soon after Murari woke up to find his mother lying dead, according to local reports.
The incident reportedly took place in the capital’s Paharganj area (pictured), which is popular with Western backpackers, including Brits (stock image)
Holi harassment has sparked angry protests in recent years, with women drawing attention to the dark side of the festival of colours.
In 2021, two teenage girls were gang raped in a forest area in Tripura, northeast India, by eight men who were later arrested by the local police.
The girls, aged 14 and 15, had been celebrating the festival when they went for a stroll with two of the accused.
In 2018, there were protests among female students in India’s capital, with many using social media to highlight how uncomfortable the festival can be for women.
As well as the smearing of colours without consent, women described how water balloons thrown at them could be filled with disgusting substances, as well as eggs and mud being slung.
A post by student Tolino Chishi, claiming that someone had thrown a ‘semen-filled balloon’ at her went viral, triggering a anti-harassment protests at the Delhi University campus.